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M: Maternity/Paternity Leave

Paid family leave combats poverty, gives children a healthy start, and lowers the wage gap between women and men by providing structural support to balance work and family.

Selena's Story

Selena's baby boy, Connor, was born six weeks early. As Connor was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit, Selena found herself alone in a hospital bed realizing that she was going to go home well before her baby. "There was no way we could afford for me to take off more than we planned,” recalls Selena. So after Selena had the baby on Thursday, she was released from the hospital Friday, and was back at her desk on Monday morning. “It was the hardest two and a half weeks of my life,” she says recalling the ache of being away from her newborn son. More

Read more in our collection of stories from moms and dads across the country about the need for paid family leave.

Know the Facts

  • Having a baby is a leading cause of "poverty spells" in the U.S. -- when income dips below what's needed for basic living expenses.
  • In the U.S., 49% of mothers cobble together paid leave following childbirth by using sick days, vacation days, disability leave, and maternity leave.
  • 51% of new mothers lack any paid leave -- so some take unpaid leave, some quit, some even lose their jobs.
  • The U.S is one of only 4 countries that doesn't offer paid leave to new mothers -- the others are Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho.
  • Paid family leave has been shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20% (and the U.S. ranks a low 37th of all countries in infant mortality).

What You Can Do

MomsBlogging on Maternity & Paternity Leave

Support Walmart Workers

Posted November 24, 2014 by Liz Shuler

Walmart. On one hand we have the Walton family—Walmart’s owners. With almost $150 billion in wealth, they are the richest family in the nation. On the other hand, we have Walmart workers, most of whom work for less than $25,000 a year. Most are women. And this Thanksgiving, more than 1 million of them have [...]

Showing Thanks for Family Caregivers This Month

Posted November 20, 2014 by Debra Ness

It’s November – a month many associate with Thanksgiving, the day next week when families and friends across the country will come together to celebrate the things they’re grateful for. But November is also National Family Caregivers Month, and tens of millions of women and men in this country who care for ill or older [...]

Recognizing National Family Caregivers Month

Posted November 20, 2014 by Ruth Martin

In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month in November, the broad-based coalition of organizations pushing for the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act are rallying online to call attention to family caregivers’ need for supportive workplace polices like the national paid family and medical leave program the FAMILY Act would establish. The effort is being hosted [...]

National Family Caregiver Month Highlights Need to Value Women’s Work

Posted November 20, 2014 by Linda Meric

  by Rev. Harriet BradleyAtlanta, GA I am a woman of many skills and trades — I have been a school teacher, and served on the board of my school district’s union. I am a board member of 9to5 Atlanta. I am a Reverend, and like the Apostle Paul, who was a tentmaker to supplement [...]

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